Friday, July 01, 2011

Reds say farewell to a man who was 'Liverpool to the core'

Liverpool - Sammy Lee will be fondly remembered

By Emdad Rahman 

Original articleIn a club statement Liverpool FC confirmed yesterday that Assistant Manager Sammy Lee had left the club by mutual consent. The end of an era in many respects.

Following his departure, ex teammate and current boss Kenny Dalglish said: "We'd like to place on record our thanks for all of Sammy's hard work over the years and the contribution he has made to Liverpool.
"He has always been a credit to the Football Club and a credit to himself. Everyone at Liverpool FC wishes him all the best in his future career."
Sammy Lee has been associated with Liverpool since the mid 70s. Leicester City were the opponents as Bob Paisley gave the red-faced Lee his first start for Liverpool, coming on as a replacement for David Johnson in 1978.
Sammy Lee was Liverpool to the core. He played an unstoppable, all action, heart on the sleeve style of play and often ran himself into the ground for his teammates.
 "He's fat, he's round, he bounces all around -Sammy Lee..." sang the Anfield Choir. The pint-sized dynamo shared a platform alongside Graeme Souness and gave a decade of playing service to Liverpool as well as many extra years as part of the Reds back room staff.
The late Sir Bobby Robson gave Lee the first of 14 England caps. Lee scored two goals, including one on his debut against Greece.
Sammy Lee missed out on an FA Cup winners medal but picked up three League Championships, four League Cups, and two European Cups.
His 1981 semi final shackling of Paul Breitner, the German World Cup winning legend is seen by many to be his finest appearance in a Red shirt, and was heralded as a major contributory factor in Liverpool reaching the final against Real Madrid.
Lee's style of play resulted in injuries that increasingly started to affect his starting place at Liverpool. He eventually lost his first tram grip after the Reds acquisition of man mountain Jan Mølby, joining Queens Park Rangers, Osasuna, travelling to the South Coast with the Saints, sand retiring after a stint at Bolton with the Trotters.

Lee was first given a back room post by Graeme Souness, his old skipper and midfield partner. It was a measure of Lee's contribution and value that led to Roy Evans, Gerard Houllier, Rafa Benitez ad Kenny Dalglish retaining his experience and tactical know how. Sven Goran Eriksson included Lee in his national set up and the man himself turned down an off to manage the England Under 21s.
A short but unsuccessful stint as manager followed at Bolton after the departure of Big Sam to Newcastle. ‘Little Sam’ held no grudges and on his return to the Trotterswith Liverpool he was given a standing ovation by the home crowd.
In December 2008 Lee tasted leading his beloved Liverpool after he stepped in for an unwell Benitez against Arsene Wenger's Gunners.
After leaving Lee said: "I returned to the club in 2008 and I'm proud of the contribution I've been able to make since then. I want to wish Kenny, the players and the supporters all the best going forward." 
Lee has had a tendency to return to his roots, so this may not be the final curtain call for the lifelong Red.

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